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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

John Scotus Erigena

  • [A philosopher, born in Ireland; passed most of his life in France, where he was celebrated for classical learning and subtlety in scholastic disputation; sought refuge from church difficulties with Alfred the Great; died about 875 A.D.]
  • The table only.

  • When Charles the Bald of France, who sat opposite to him at dinner, asked Scotus what the difference was between a Scot and a sot (quid intersit inter Scotum et solum), he replied, “The table only” (Mensa tantum).